Roughly 100 Middle school science teachers from across the St. Tammany Parish Public School System became the students on February 5th and 6th as they participated in hands-on activities during a two-day STEM: Explore, Discover, Apply (EDA) Workshop presented by the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC) at the Treen Technology Center.
During the workshop teachers were engaged in the engineering design process through a series of hands-on projects including researching, designing, building and testing devices such as catapults, musical instruments, flashlights, rubber band powered cars, shake tables and more. The activities will empower and inspire the participants to go back to their own classrooms and use the tools they learned about to successfully implement Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum.
“Teachers are learning next generation science standards through this training. The teachers will be able to take these exercises back to the classroom and guide students through the design process of solving a problem,” said Assistant Superintendent Regina Sanford. “It teaches the concept of teamwork and in industry we all know it takes a team to attack a problem. We know these skills are going to be beneficial for our students.”
Assistant Superintendent Sanford said the STEM EDA Workshop will really help expand the STEM program at the 6th and 7th grade levels and the hope is to also grow the program down to the elementary level.
In addition to the activities and training the teachers experience during the workshop, they will have access to the full STEM EDA curriculum and over 30 different modules to use in their classrooms. Teachers attending will also have the opportunity to work with NICERC to receive training over the summer for graduate credit.
NICERC received a grant from Homeland Security to pay for the training, and other expenses including kits and materials used during the workshop were covered by Chevron through an Energy for Learning grant.
“My hope is that the teachers are engaged and on fire for bringing new and exciting things to the students that might expose them to fields or activities that they might not have been exposed to before,” said Cyber Innovation Center Director of Curriculum Krystal Corbett who was one of several NICERC instructors at the workshop.
The National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC) was created by the Cyber Innovation Center to advance its academic outreach and workforce development programs. NICERC provides hands-on professional development, curricula, programs, and competitions to engage students in STEM disciplines. Professional development programs for K-12 teachers enable them to motivate creativity and innovation in students through problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication.